I see this question a lot, and on sites like Linkedin and Reddit, content writers are always asking how much they should charge. Now, I’m gonna say it’s not necessarily how much does a copywriter cost… But what value a copywriter can bring to you.
The truth is a copywriter or content writer can cost you very little.
You can get content written for small change – I’m talking $5 here. Easy. Go to Fiverr and you’ll see what I mean.
Will it be any good?
Well, for $5 why not just go ahead and find out. (spoiler alert – probably not).
When you start to pay a bit more, you’ll see that the quality goes up too. You see the thing with content writers and copywriters is that, like everyone, they all have to start somewhere.
And by nature, content writers tend to be freelancers or one-(wo)man-bands. So they often don’t realise their value until they get going in their career.
So you might just find a writer who charges $30 for a 1000 word article and is pretty decent. But then you might pay another guy $100 and, well… You could do better yourself.
Myself, when I started, I was making a fairly paltry $20-30 per 500 word article, but I was happy to do it for the experience. Plus I had a day job so I was doing content writing as a side hustle. I look at the content I was writing then and, hmmmmm, yeah it wasn’t my best work for sure.
But I quickly gained lots of positive feedback and several repeat clients because I was *ahem* fucking awesome. That was nearly ten years ago now and I’m gonna say that my fees are substantially more than $20.
BUT… I’m not a wet behind the ears content writer any longer.
I’ve got whole world of experience. Not to mention a thousand yard stare and a serious coffee addiction.
I’m not gonna publish my fees on here, but I am gonna give you a real honest ball park figure of what you get for what you pay.
The cost of a content writer
There are different ways to charge for content writing, and different industries and experience levels will mean a sliding scale of actual costs for copywriting.
Based on UK prices, this is the average copywriter cost for content.
Agencies and businesses hiring for contract work will most likely ask copywriters for day rates.
A reasonable rate can be anywhere between £170 – 500 for a day rate. In USD this is around $200 – 700 (ish).
For an experienced content writer in a specialist field, GB£300 is not unusual. And if they have additional skills such as journalism or PR then £400-500 per day is not out of the ordinary.
In-house/full time rates
The cost for a full time copywriter is weirdly broad, in the UK at least. I’ve seen jobs advertising £17,500 for an entry level copywriter, through to £100,000 for a senior content specialist.
Please, if you’re hiring a copywriter, don’t pay any less than £22,000 for even an entry level writer in the UK (about $25 – $27,000 in USD).
Having said this, it also depends on your location. If you’re in London then a copywriter, even entry level, shouldn’t be on any less than around £25,000. I had to turn down a few roles in London that offered below 30k due to clients trying to low-ball and making up for it with ‘perks’. I don’t need perks, I need to pay my rent.
An experienced content writer should cost no less than around £35-40,000 in the UK. £60-70,000 is reasonable for a mid to senior copywriter, but £100,000 plus is realistic for an industry specialist.
Entry level content writers can easily charge £20 plus per hour in the UK. An experienced copywriter costs about £40-100 per hour, depending on industry.
Hourly rates for specialist copywriters can go anywhere up to over £100 per hour – which would usually be in a technical field.
For an industry like medical, financial or engineering, I would advise charging no less than around £75 per hour.
The preference of print publications and content mills. I personally don’t like to work on a per-word rate and avoid it where possible.
If you do charge per word, avoid paying any less than US$0.15, which is basically $150 for 1000 words. You’ll see plenty of gigs on sites like Upwork offering 2 cents a word but these kinds of lowball rates are best ignored.
The tricky question – does nationality or language matter?
When hiring a content writer you often see ‘Must be native English speaker’ or ‘Must be based in the USA/Canada/UK’ etc. But does a writers nationality matter?
If you’re looking at the cost of a content writer, can you pay less if they’re from India, Nigeria or Kenya?
I’ve worked with tons of writers, many of whom are from non-native English speaking countries. And I’ve also worked with quite a few native English speaking writers too.
What’s the difference?
Not a great deal. I’ve had exceptional content from an Indian guy and a Kenyan guy, and passable to frankly pretty crap content from a British writer.
Price wise? Yes, Indians and Nigerians might be happier with a lower price than a guy living in New York or London. After all, they are paying less in cost of living.
But if the writing is top quality, they deserve to be treated the equal of their bredren around the world. Don’t try to lowball them just cos they live in Bangalore, not Baltimore.
Want top quality? Pay a good price, check their portfolio and nurture talent.
Or, drop me an email 😉 oli @ olilynch.com